Eamonn Farrell/RN

Warm tributes paid at funeral of woman who lost her sons and husband in Kanturk murder suicide

Anne O’Sullivan, 60, died on Wednesday, it’s understood she had a terminal illness.

WARM TRIBUTES HAVE been paid at the funeral of a woman who lost both her sons and husband in a murder suicide.

Anne O’Sullivan, 60, died on Wednesday. It’s understood she had a terminal illness. She was laid to rest today following requiem mass at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, in Kanturk, Co Cork.

In a reflection at the end of the mass her cousin Louise Sherlock spoke warmly of her relative in an address to the mourners which was streamed online.

“Anne showed nothing but kindness to her family, friends and neighbours. Following her father Tim’s sudden death, Anne gave up her nursing job to care for her mother Mary.

“In time she continued her nursing career locally for years when she was unwell. In Raheen the door was always open to family friends and neighbours. Anne lived a quiet life in Raheen offering all of us friendship, warmth, hospitality in such a peaceful tranquil setting.

“We all share a myriad of happy memories down through the years, we hope Anne is now at peace,” she said.

Anne, who was a former nurse, had to endure the loss of her sons Mark (26) and Diarmuid (23) and her husband 59-year-old Tadhg.

She fled the family farmhouse on 26 October last when Tadhg and Diarmuid shot her eldest son in an inheritance row over the family farm. She ran to a neighbour’s house to raise the alarm after realising Mark had been shot.

After Mark’s shooting Diarmuid and Tadhg went to a field some 600 metres from the farmhouse in Kanturk and ended their own lives.

In his homily, Fr Tony Bluitt spoke of Anne’s addressed the horrific events of that day.

“Anne lost her battle against her illness. She died, as we might say, before her time. As was characteristic of her she accepted her fate with dignity and courage but lost out in the end. And that is what brings us here this afternoon.

“I know that we are conscious of the fact that Anne’s untimely passing was not the only tragedy in her life. We here in our community are well aware of the recent painful and tragic loss that Anne suffered – a tragedy that affected us all.

“We acknowledge the fact; we recognize a wider context for our grief today. We know that there are other clouds behind the landscape of our sorrow. We note this but it is not for us to pass comment or judgement. We simply acknowledge the fact,” he said.

Fr Bluitt spoke of the tragic end to Anne’s life and also sought to reassure mourners as they struggle with understanding the events in the O’Sullivan family.

“Illness can come and challenge us and defeat us. Tragedy, and serious tragedy, can come and haunt us and change our lives irreparably. The clouds that can, and do, settle over our lives sometimes rob us of fulfilment and peace, of an ordered and easy existence.

“They bring a darkness into our lives that we feel cannot be shaken. We feel helpless and, even perhaps, afraid.

“Darkness came into Anne’s life when she lost her family in very sad and tragic circumstances, and when she lost her battle with the illness she had fought so courageously.

“All of which brings us face to face with the mystery of life: of its meaning, of the sense of it, and why, sometimes, life troubles us and troubles us deeply. We can find ourselves in a dark place. We can be troubled.

“Yet, in the face of all darkness, even that of death itself, Christians never lose hope. We are people of hope even when trouble comes our way,” he added.

Anne’s remains were later cremated at a private ceremony.

Need help? Support is available:

  • Aware – 1800 80 48 48 (depression, anxiety)
  • Samaritans – 116 123 or email
  • Pieta House – 1800 247 247 or email (suicide, self-harm)
  • Teen-Line Ireland – 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 18)
  • Childline – 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s)
  • ALONE - 0818 222 024  (for older people)